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Reprinted with permission from the University of Illinois College of ACES

Farmer Survey on Specialty Corn and Soybeans Published

URBANA–Insights into changes in value-enhanced corn and soybean production in Illinois, as well as farmer opinion on a variety of related issues, are contained in a report recently released by the University of Illinois. "Value-Enhanced Corn and Soybean Production in Illinois" was produced by the U of I's Value Project.

"Since the Value Project was started three years ago, there have been dramatic changes in Illinois agriculture, including a significant increase in the production and marketing of value-enhanced corn and soybeans," said Burt Swanson, U of I professor of agricultural and consumer economics and director of the Value Project, which is funded by the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR).

"The GMO issue has brought increasing attention to identity preservation methods for non-GMO corn and soybeans. At the same time, demand for many other types of value-enhanced grain continues to grow, opening up new opportunities for Illinois farmers. This report helps to identify factors that Illinois producers should consider as they seek to capture more value from different types of value-enhanced crops."

Surveys of Illinois farmers indicate that 7,000 farmers have started producing value-enhanced crops since 1998, making the total number of producers 16,800, and acreage has expanded per average farmer from 200 acres to 400 acres during that period.

"About two-thirds of the 16,800 farmers reported that value-enhanced crops had increased their farm income by an average of 12.5 percent," said Swanson. "It is estimated that Illinois farmers received a total of about $32 million in additional farm income during 1999 and 2000 from growing value-enhanced corn and soybeans."

The report identifies markets for value-enhanced corn and soybeans as well as farmers' experiences and interests in these crops. Differences between specialty crop and non-specialty crop producers are also revealed.

Locations of market and production areas for high oil corn, non-GMO corn, white and yellow food-grade corn, waxy corn, high-extractable starch corn, non-GMO soybeans, STS (registered trademark), and clear hilum, food-grade soybeans are listed in the report.

"The report also discusses factors affecting value-added strategies," said Swanson. "These include increasing competition in global markets, the importance of transportation in affecting comparative advantage, the changing structure of grain merchandising, identification of areas of comparative advantage, and producer motivation for growing a specialty crop.

"Producers considering adding value-enhanced production should consider factors like marketing, processing, and marketing alliances–all covered in the report."

Joining Swanson as coauthors of the report were Andrew J. Sofranko, a U of I professor of rural sociology; Mohamed M. Samy, lead analyst in the Value Project; Emerson Nafziger, a U of I professor of crop sciences; and Darrel Good, a U of I professor of agricultural marketing and interim head of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.

 

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